Words of WonderThe Wonder Is - Jaan Kaplinski

The washing never gets done.
The furnace never gets heated.
Books never get read.
Life is never completed.
Life is like a ball which one must continually
catch and hit so that it won’t fall.
When the fence is repaired at one end,
it collapses at the other. The roof leaks,
the kitchen door won’t close, there are cracks in the foundation,
the torn knees of children’s pants …
One can’t keep everything in mind. The wonder is
that beside all this one can notice
the spring which is so full of everything
continuing in all directions – into evening clouds,
into the redwing’s song and into every
drop of dew on every blade of grass in the meadow,
as far as the eye can see, into the dusk.

by Jaan Kaplinski
Translated from Estonian by Jaan Kaplinski, Sam Hamill and Riina Tamm


I love discovering new poems and poets – a whole new treasury of words waiting to be discovered. The Estonian poet, philosopher and cultural critic is the most recent one (thank you Katherine!), prolific and widely translated and loved. In fact, Anthony Wilson who collected a book full of Lifesaving Poems declared Jaan Kaplinski to be his desert island poet, which surely is high praise… so I’ll be reading more from him before long!

But for today, here’s a little gem of very recognisable never-endingness (is it just me or does lockdown life bring this to the foreground even more than normal?), opening out into what Thich Nhat Hanh called the miracle of mindfulness. Yes, all these never ending uncompleted tasks are there, but that’s not all, we can look up into the brightness of the world around us. And such joys that reveals: ‘as far as the eye can see, into the dusk’. Let’s keep noticing and looking…


Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash